Well-chosen variable names are critical to source code readability, reusability, and maintainability. Unfortunately, in deployed JavaScript code (which is ubiquitous on the web) the identifier names are frequently minified and overloaded. This is done both for efficiency and also to protect potentially proprietary intellectual property.

We developed an approach based on statistical machine translation (SMT) that recovers some of the original names from the JavaScript programs minified by the very popular UglifyJS. Our tool uses the Moses statistical machine translation framework to perform the translation, along with some pre and post processing to handle code-specific considerations.

This simple tool, Autonym, performs comparably to the best currently available de-obfuscator for JavaScript, JSNice, which uses more sophisticated static analysis. In fact, Autonym is quite complementary to JSNice, performing well when it does not, and vice versa.

We also introduce a new tool which blends SMT and JSNice, and significantly outperforms both at identifier name recovery. Try out our tool at JSNaughty.org.

Related Projects

Open source sustainability

Badges on npm packages





Our Pastry Shop

Wean Hall 5115, Institute for Software Research
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Ave
Pittsburgh, PA, 15213 USA